Retrospective 2016


Naruse Mikio
Japan 1951
97 min

MESHI is an uncomplicated narrative told with insightful detail and subtlety from the point of view of the unhappy wife, Michiyo, disappointed by her drab existence and the boorish indifference of her husband, Hatsunosuke, whose attentions are easily distracted by the arrival of his niece. As in the other films discussed here, Naruse portrays life in post-war Japan in an almost documentary fashion, particularly in his location sequences in claustrophobic alleys and near waterways. One of the commentators mentions how it was Fassbinder twenty years later whose dissection of middle-class life in the post-war society in Europe is very much a reminder of Naruse’s concerns.
MESHI proofs Naruse’s mastery in composing and editing his shots. His sequences flow almost seamlessly with a glance or a movement picked up almost imperceptibly in the next shot so that the cut becomes invisible at times. Kurosawa was said to have admired Naruse’s editing enormously and mentioned how “a flow of shots that looks calm and ordinary at first glance reveals itself to be like a deep river with a quiet surface disguising a fast-raging current underneath.” (Michael Campi)

  • Hara Setsuko - Michiyo Okamoto
  • Uehara Ken - Hatsunosuke
  • Shimazaki Yukiko - Okamoto Satoko
  • Ide Toshirô
  • Tanaka Sumie
  • Tamai Masao
  • Fujiyoshi Masao
  • Hayasaka Fumio
  • Chûko Satoshi
Toho Co. Ltd.
35 mm
Related Movies